In a series of posts we’re taking a virtual tour through your home to explore how different rooms of the house affect recovery from an eating disorder. In the last post we looked at the kitchen – where you prepare the food that will fuel and nourish your body.
Now we’ll move to the room where you actually eat. You may eat in your kitchen in a breakfast nook or at the counter with a stool, or you may eat in a separate dining room. You may eat some meals in each place. What’s key for peaceful eating is that you always eat in a special designated space – not just eating on the fly, and never standing up to eat.
As an interior design student in college, my favorite course was tabletop design. It was so fun to think creatively about things like seating, such as making sure left-handed diners always sit at the end, or giving easy access to people who would get up more than others.
Then there was everything that goes on the table. Growing up I remember that my mother collected tea cups and it was always so special to drink tea from those. There was also a set of dishes from Fishs Eddy that were practically indestructible, as well as beautiful.
You may have sets of special dishes or flatware that you take out for special occasions, but what about your everyday dining? Consider everything from dishware, silverware, linens (tablecloths, runners, placements, napkins), glasses, paper napkins – anything that decorates our dining spaces.
There are so many creative design choices nowadays, and they don’t have to be expensive. Take extra care to find colors, surfaces, textures and fabrics that will make eating a most pleasant experience for you.
Also take note of the view. When you eat, do you stare at a wall? Can you hang a beautiful poster or piece of artwork on the wall in front of you? Or shift your seating to look out a window instead? Is there any clutter you need to remove from your dining space?
Once you’ve set up your environment for a peaceful and enjoyable eating experience, you can also be more conscious of how you’re eating. See here for our tips on mindful eating. We also recommend the book Eating Mindfully: How to End Mindless Eating and Enjoy a Balanced Relationship with Food by Dr. Susan Albers, and her other mindful eating tools.
Cultivating a pleasant dining environment will enhance your recovery from an eating disorder, and bring more peace to your relationship with food.